Some things change, some remain the same
February 1, 2019 - Pastor Tom Kraft
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger. -Judges 2:10-12
“Some things change, some remain the same. Which are which, and why?”
That’s a quote from one of my seminary professors that sums up in one question the changes we face in life. We just started studying the book of Judges on Wednesday night. The people of Israel had moved from the wilderness into the cities, towns, and countryside of the promised land. There are radical new ways of life, different people, ideas they have never heard of, and even other gods. In the midst of this transformational context, the people of God are distracted and turn from God.
This is not new. Jesus was born when the Roman empire disrupted and challenged the norms and culture of the people of God. A couple hundred years ago the world had an industrial revolution that disrupted and changed the patterns of life that people lived for hundreds of years. The United Methodist church was born as a response to this upheaval. And TODAY we are experiencing revolutions in technology, communication, and travel that are quickly transforming our world with new patterns, ideas, and even questions about our faith and our church. If you were born before 1960, you grew up in a world that is radically different than the one your children and children’s children are being raised in. In fact, you have more in common with people born one hundred years before you, than those born 20 years after you.
Some of these changes are wonderful, some are terrifying. Which are which, and why?
Our church on a local and national level is wrestling with this transformational age. It will not serve us well to try to escape to gated communities for people over 60 and their kind or seek a return to the days of “Leave it to Beaver.” Some of the changes are here to stay and are very good. However, we need to be careful, especially younger generations, to be anchored in eternal truths. Now more than ever, we need to understand the Bible, worship God, and pray, so that we are connected to the truth God is revealing for this age.
We don’t want to be like the people in Judges who tossed God aside and aroused His anger. But we also don’t want to be the like the Pharisees and Sadducees that resisted the new thing God was doing through Jesus.
Oh and those of you born before 1960, remember in our teens, we “sowed the wind, now we reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8). So hang onto the eternal, let go of the unessential, and with love, “prepare the way of the Lord” in new wineskins for a new generation.